THE STORY OF GENTLE BEING: Hidden Splendor
The "Hiddden Splendor" of track 8 originated in a Unity church in
Mesa, AZ where my wife Barbara and I were invited to share our
sounds in an opening ceremony for the Buddhist Relic Tour.
The song's title derives from a Robert Browning poem:
"There is an inmost center in us all, where truth abides in fullness...
opening out a way where the imprisoned splendor escapes."
At the church we offered an improvisation with Barbara on the
Angel Wing Freenote and me on the the Swiss Hang Sound Sculpture
(pronounced hung). The Angel Wing was created by Richard Cooke
of Colorado. The one in "Hidden Splendor" is a 9 note instrument
tuned in a beautiful Dm Ake Bono Japanese scale. While it looks similar to a xylophone, its sound is very
different. Listen carefully and you will fall under the spell of ethereal chimes.
The Angel Wing and the Hang fell instantly in love with one another. The Hang was created ten years ago by Felix Rhoner and Sabina Sharer of PanArt in Bern, Switzerland. This is one of the newest instruments on the planet and certainly one of the most difficult to obtain.
The Hang I am playing in this song is a 2nd generation Dm. While the Hang is tapped upon with the fingers, thumbs and hands, Felix and Sabina insist it is not a drum. And those who play it like one soon find themselves with a detuned instrument.
Felix once told me that the virtuosity is in the Hang rather than the player. It was his way of saying this is a new sound on the planet which demands that a player learn to listen and then follow where the sound leads. It was during this 2nd generation phase of the Hang's evolution that the Hangmakers were guided to realize that they were making a personal transformation tool rather than a standard musical instrument.
The current generation of the Hang is called the Free Integral Hang and is being made available first and foremost to those seeking spiritual growth. Whereas the earlier hangs were tuned to the standard A440, the FIH is tuned only by ear and intuition and abandons traditional musical parameters.
After we concluded our musical interlude at the church, two lines formed and the Buddhist monks began blessing those who kneeled at the altar. When my turn came, I kneeled. The young monk's eyes locked on mine.
He smiled widely, leaned toward me and whispered, "Thank you for the beautiful music." I smiled back at him and nodded.
In the recording studio the song leaped into a new dimension under the monk's blessing, the artful touch of Boyd Sibley's keyboard, and the strains of a high D native flute.
And so we offer you this song now where our truth abides in fullness, opening out a way where the
imprisoned splendor may escape.